X-rays of the hands of King George and Queen Mary, 1896.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from the Illustrated London News. The X-ray or 'new' photography caused a sensation when it was discovered by German scientist Profesor Roentgen (1845-1923) in 1895. In 1895, as Profesor of Physics at the University of Wurzburg, Roentgen was experimenting with a Crookes' radiometer (cathode ray tubes), invented in 1875. He noticed that when cathode rays struck the end of a discharge tube, rays of a new kind were emitted, capable of penetrating matter. Roentgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize for physics in 1901. The X-rays here are of the hands of the Duke of York (1865-1936) and his Duches (1867-1953), later King George V and Queen Mary.